CM Punk returns to WWE for first time in nine years at Survivor Series

The wrestler made a surprise appearance at the end of the men's WarGames match at Chicago's AllState Arena

CM Punk made a surprise appearance. Photo: WWE
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CM Punk is back in the WWE.

The controversial wrestler made an appearance at the end of Survivor Series as the show went off the air following the men’s match in WarGames between Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Jey Uso and Randy Orton against The Judgement Day and Drew McIntyre.

CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, walked out to Allstate Arena in his hometown of Chicago wearing a casual white t-shirt and jeans. He gave a cheeky smirk before doing his signature move of getting on his knees and announcing “it’s clobberin’ time” as he celebrated with fans.

Triple H on CM Punk's return

During a post-show press conference after Survivor Series, the first question chief content officer Triple H answered was about Punk's return. He described it as a "lightning in a bottle moment" that came together very quickly but expressed his excitement about because it was a long time coming. He also went on to describe how CM Punk – regardless of how people feel about him – has always been someone who gets people talking.

"He’s a conversation starter and it’s tough to look past that. For me, if our fans want it, if the WWE Universe is excited to have it, then let’s go. And we’ll figure out the rest of it from there.

“This came together super quick, which I’m sure is why it stayed very tight. There was a lot of speculation. At that point it was nothing but speculation for most of the time it was speculation. It didn’t really start to come to fruition until everybody stopped thinking it was going to happen and then all of a sudden it was happening. But extremely excited.

“You know, a lot of time has gone by, almost 10 years, right? If you are the same person you were 10 years ago 10 years later you’ve messed up. Everybody grows. Everybody changes. I’m a different person, he’s a different person, this is a different company. We’re all on the same even starting ground. So what’s next for CM Punk?

"That will be interesting, won’t it? I’m interested to see that myself. I know whatever it is it will be talked about, it will be exciting, and it will be a thrill ride for the WWE Universe, no matter what it is. I’m thrilled, we’re all thrilled, to have him back here and to have him back, cliche to say, to have him back home in WWE. It’s where he belongs.”

Why did CM Punk leave the WWE?

Punk abruptly quit the WWE in 2014, claiming he felt burnt out, had creative differences with the company and generally felt unhappy. "I was sick and hurt, and sick and tired, and burnt out, and I walked," Punk told The Art of Wrestling podcast in 2014. "And, I can do that because I'm an independent contractor."

He went on to try mixed marital arts but had a record of 0-1-1 before giving up. Punk then signed with rival wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling in 2021, making his first return to pro wrestling in seven years.

However, his time with AEW was marred with controversy as well. He became the AEW World Champion, but had backstage incidents with other wrestlers eventually leading to his firing.

Although few details have been revealed about his latest return to the WWE, Sean Ross Sapp of reports the decision to have the wrestler come back was a last minute one.

“CM Punk told at least one person close to him he had an hour-long conversation with Triple H last week,” Sapp tweeted.

“WWE staff, reps, creative had no idea. He walked through the back in plain site minutes before he appeared. They had cleared an area out.

"Triple H took over calling the show in the last couple of minutes and called for the copyright logo. Even many in production didn't know.”

Updated: November 26, 2023, 6:10 AM